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The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® class season finale at Daytona International Speedway was dramatic from start to finish in the 65-minute finale on Saturday. 

After the dust settled with post-race reviews and technical inspections, Thomas Merrill, in the No. 99 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, scored his third TA2®  powered by AEM victory of the season. His teammate Tony Buffomante (No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang) staged a massive comeback to score second ahead of Dillon Machavern, who claimed third in the No. 77 Liqui-Moly/Prefix Ford Mustang.

“The last few laps were pretty busy, pretty aggressive, but fair – fair both ways,” said Merril of his battle with pole sitter Mayer. “Our car was very good, and I felt his car was very good, so it was a very good race for the lead there at the end. The Big Diehl Racing/Mike Cope Race Cars crew was unbelievable. They gave me the best car in the field. It was my job to bring it home in first place.”

Sixteen-year-old NASCAR K&N champion Sam Mayer (No. 96 SLR/Fields Racing/M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro) started on pole, but it was Merrill that shot to the front of the pack at the start ahead of Rafa Matos and 2019 TA2® champion elect Mark Miller. Tony Buffomante slotted in to third as Mayer looked to move up from fourth. 

Under braking for turn one, Mayer and Buffomante made contact, sending the No. 34 Mustang back down the order to 24th position. Mayer was issued a drive through penalty and fell back to eighth.

Merrill built a seven-second lead before debris on the track forced the first of four caution periods and grouped the field back up. Miller and Jacob Mosler (SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro) fell victim to the flying wreckage. Miller pitted to change two flat tires and continued the race. Mosler wasn’t as lucky. His day ended with pierced transmission.

On the restart, Merrill held off the challenging 2018 TA2® champion Rafa Matos for the lead. Again building his lead, Merril’s gap was erased once again after another full course yellow following an issue that ended Matos’ strong run. 

After a pair of back-to-back cautions, Mayer caught Merrill following a late restart and the two swapped the lead several times. Mayer made his final bid entering the NASCAR oval on the 26th lap, but a two-car incident on the front straight brought about a race-ending caution as Merrill closed out his 2019 season on a high note. Following post-race inspections, Mayer’s entry was found to be out of compliance and was disqualified from the race.

Buffomante also had a strong drive through the field following the early incident, taking third on the final green-flag lap, and later promoted to second. The run was Buffomante’s Trans Am swan song, as the five-year veteran driver will step away from competition as he prepares to pass the torch to his 11-year-old son who is continuing the family tradition and pursuing a racing career.

“He [Mayer] just drove right through us,” Buffomante explained. “At a track like Daytona, a drive-through penalty is not big enough, especially when you get a caution, those guys just drive right back up there. It’s unfortunate for us. We had a good car, and spent a bunch of time backwards after I spun out. Then I had to work back through the pack. I would have liked to have had the last couple of laps not run under the caution. I think we would have made it interesting. We were hoping for another win here, but it is great to end up here on the podium. ”

Lawless Alan (No. 52 AutoParkIT / Ford Mustang), the 19-year-old TA2 Rookie of the Year, finished fourth after an early pit due to loose wiring forced him to the pits early in the race and Misha Goikhberg (No. 10 BC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro) took fifth.

Miller, aftre hitting debris,  ran fifth before retiring late in the race due to a coolant leak.

“This was not the way we wanted to end the season,” said a deflated Miller. “Our car was very, very good. We had contact at the beginning of the race that put us back. Then we were able to put on a good showing. I had a good car until I found myself driving in my own antifreeze. I thought it might have been a tire, but then I saw the temperature gauge. I got hit a few times, but it was fun.”

The showing at Daytona International Speedway closed out the 53rd Trans Am Series season. 

Trans Am returns to action Feb. 29-March 1, 2020 at Sebring International Raceway. 

Fans can keep up with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli throughout the offseason at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.  

At his home track, Funny Car’s Robert Hight raced to his third career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world title and second in three years on Sunday by advancing to the final round of the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed world championships in their respective categories at the final race of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. The race winners of the final event of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Jianna Salinas (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
 
Hight knocked off championship hopeful and No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan with a strong run of 3.977-seconds at 324.59 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS to reach the final, where he just needed to not lose any points. In the final, Hight performed a massive burnout to the delight of the fans before the car shut off, handing him the championship during what was the best season of his career.
 
“The most important run of my life was in the semifinals against Matt Hagan,” Hight said. “When it comes down to one run to win a championship, how will you perform? My heart was beating out of my chest, but we got it done. This has just been the steadiest year I’ve ever had and that’s a real tribute to this team. It’s amazing and I’m the luckiest guy in the world to drive this Funny Car. To win six races, lead the points with the competition level in Funny Car, I’m going to cherish this championship the most because we earned it. We did our job.”
 
Hight, who becomes just the fifth driver in class history to earn a third title, beat teammate John Force and then Shawn Langdon to set up the showdown with Hagan, advancing to his ninth final round in 2019. His season included a career-best six victories, giving him 51 in his career, while Hight was consistently impressive all year, leading in points at 23 of the 24 races.
 
After Hight’s car shut off, Beckman took advantage in the final round, going 3.920 at 323.27 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge SRT Hellcat to close his year in style. Beckman finished second in points with the win, just eight behind Hight, claiming his second win in 2019 and 30th in his career. Beckman reached the final round for the 63rd time overall thanks to round wins against John Hale, J.R. Todd and Blake Alexander.
 
“I’ve never won Funny Car at Pomona, so that was awesome,” Beckman said. “If you win at (the World Finals), the off-season is going to be fantastic. They’ve given me such a great racecar lately, and finished a solid second, ended the year with a win and we’ve got a phenomenal car. Things are awesome right now. I’m feeling on top of the world, to be honest with you.”
 
Torrence clinched his second straight NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world title by advancing to the semifinals and making it down the track during that round on Sunday. In a massive second-round matchup with 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Torrence pulled away at the top end, going 3.749 at 326.48 in his CAPCO Contractors dragster. It followed a heated first-round matchup with Cameron Ferre, where Torrence, the No. 1 qualifier, won with a 3.734 at 327.82. The team rose to the occasion against Force, performing big in another clutch situation and making a clean pass in the semifinals to win back-to-back titles.
 
“It’s been really special to be part of a team that goes out and has the success we’ve had,” Torrence said. “It’s really special to win one championship, much less two and to do it back-to-back. I knew what we had to do and we were going to decide who had the best chance at it in the second round. The guys prevailed and gave me the racecar, and I did the job I needed to do when I needed to do it. Our group of guys has been together for years and that continuity is what has been a key recipe to our success.”
 
It capped off another remarkable season for the Texan, as Torrence was again in control for most of the year. He finished with nine Top Fuel wins, including a dominant stretch of eight wins in a nine-race span. Torrence, who won 11 races a year ago en route to his first title, also advanced to 14 final rounds in 2019, as he now has 36 wins and 55 finals appearances in his career. His playoff victory in Charlotte gave him the points lead for good, as Torrence’s path to the championship included three finals in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
 
Kalitta came up only three points short of Torrence, just missing out on his first Top Fuel world title, but the veteran did close out 2019 with a victory in his Mac Tools dragster. He went 3.716 at 332.67 to beat Kalitta Motorsports teammate Richie Crampton in the final round. Kalitta earned his third victory of 2019 and 47th in his standout career, also sweeping both races at Pomona this year. He knocked off Terry McMillen, Justin Ashley and Leah Pritchett to reach the final round.
 
“It was fun, for sure,” Kalitta said. “I was real proud of the effort we put in today. We gave it all we could and it’s definitely still on our list to win a championship. I was real proud of my guys today coming out of here with a win, and I love running here in Pomona. It’s a great team effort we got going on here, so I’ll keep digging.”
 
In Pro Stock, Enders was cool under pressure on Sunday, capping off a strong performance in the playoffs by winning her third world title in Pro Stock. It didn’t come easy, as Enders faced off with Greg Anderson in the opening round of eliminations, slipping past the veteran with a 6.570 at 210.41 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. She clinched the championship a round later on a holeshot, knocking off Chris McGaha with a 6.597 at 209.69, giving Enders a third title after back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.
 
“This one means a lot because of the valleys we’ve been through,” Enders said. “It was a challenge for us and I’m thrilled. It’s just an awesome feeling to be back on top, and it’s the reason why you never give up. Today ended up being a great day with us locking up our third championship and my teammate, Jeg Coughlin, winning the race and solidifying the second position. For everyone at Elite Motorsports to take home the top two positions in NHRA Pro Stock, it’s a huge thrill for us. We take a lot of pride in what we do and it paid off this year. I’m just really proud.”
 
By winning a third championship, Enders ties Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey for the most titles in NHRA history by a female. On the strength of two wins and three No. 1 qualifiers in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Enders also became the lowest seed to win a title in Pro Stock history after starting from fifth. She heads into 2020 with 25 career wins.
 
Coughlin’s year ended on a strong note, picking up the Pro Stock win over Fernando Cuadra with a 6.558 at 210.54 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. It is Coughlin’s second win in 2019 and 63rd in his career, capping off a memorable day for Elite Motorsports as well. Coughlin, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, beat Joey Grose, Aaron Stanfield and Bo Butner to reach his 111th final round, taking plenty of momentum into the off-season.
 
“It was a tough raceday and there was a lot of emotions going on, but it was a great weekend,” Coughlin said. “It felt really good today to bring home the win, and a double win with Erica bringing home the championship and with us securing the No. 2 position. To have 2020 be the 50th year for Pro Stock, it’s going to be exciting. I think the class right now is looking extremely good.”
 
On a wild day in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines ended up with his sixth world championship in the class, earning the title after Jerry Savoie lost in the final round to Salinas. Hines’ day didn’t go as planned at all, losing on a red light in the opening round against Salinas when he just needed one round win for the title. But he had a big enough cushion over Savoie and Matt Smith to finish with the title for a sixth time on his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson.
 
“I put my team in such a bad situation and I chalked it up that we’re done,” Hines said. “It was just absolute insanity. It was a total, utter disappointment on my behalf and a bitter pill to swallow. This was one of the craziest days ever and the final round was absolutely astonishing. But the reason why we’re here right now is what my team did all season long. It wasn’t just this race, it was what my guys did all year.”
 
Hines was dominant throughout 2019, putting together the best season in his standout career, setting the E.T. mark in the class and winning a career-best eight races. The winningest driver in class history now has 56 career victories and he also advanced to 10 final rounds this year.
 
Salinas’ day ended with her first career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory on her Scrappers Racing Suzuki, going 7.464 at 180.81 in the final round after Savoie broke. It capped off an unbelievable day for the rookie, which started with the win against Hines after he went red. She followed with wins against Steve Johnson, defending world champion Matt Smith, who broke after needing to win the race to clinch the title, to reach her first career final round.
 
“On Saturday morning, I was just fighting to qualify and I never thought I would be able to pull this off,” Salinas said. “To be here right now in this moment, it’s not something I would ever thought would happen this soon. On raceday, anything can happen. Sometimes consistency is all you need to win, and I’m just there to race my race. I felt very lucky and when it’s your day, it’s your day.”
 
The 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will kick off with the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com Feb. 6-9 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. 
Bill Auberlen’s record-tying 60th IMSA victory couldn’t have been more dramatic.
 
It came right down to the last lap of last month’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans. After stalking the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) race-leading No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Felipe Fraga at the wheel for the final half-hour, Auberlen pounced on an opportunity on the white-flag lap just as Fraga’s car ran out of fuel.
 
“It was coming down to the wire, and on that last lap, he was running a real blocking line in (Turn) 10, and then he opened up that we could now get aggressive with each other,” Auberlen recalls. “I gave him a little bump, he ran defensive into 12, I got under him in 1, and we bumped again. Then, if he looks, before he ran out of gas, I was under him in 4.
 
“So, at that point, I said, ‘Check. Mate.’ Because he can’t turn in anymore and we would have had contact and he would have abandoned left. But at that exact moment, I think he ran out of gas exactly there.
 
“Terrific. Unbelievable race. Not only that but then you figure out, Holy cow. So many people watched this race on TV. So many fans, because it was such an exciting finish that I was returning emails and phone calls and voicemails for weeks after that.”
 
At the end of the night, Auberlen found himself tied atop the all-time IMSA race winners list with the legendary Scott Pruett. And now, the Californian’s focused forward, beginning what he has dubbed the “Race to 61.”
 
He’d like to build a documentary around his chase to become IMSA’s winningest driver. Of course, if that win were to come in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26, Auberlen jokes, ‘It might be a short film.’
 
Returning to the Turner team and the No. 96 BMW alongside co-driver Robby Foley, Auberlen knows the ingredients are in place to get that victory sooner rather than later.
 
“How it’s going to happen is we’re just going to do the same thing we did,” he said. “Which is, now we have more knowledge, we have more understanding of the M6 and how to make it go fast, the same team, the same driver lineup, I don’t want to change a thing. I want to improve on what we’ve already done, ‘cause it was already really good.”
 
Auberlen and Foley scored two victories in 2019, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Those victories were vital contributors to a runner-up result in the final WeatherTech Championship GTD standings.
 
He and the team are aiming for one spot better in 2020, although Auberlen realizes that championships are usually won through consistency rather than outright race wins.
 
“If you’re running for a championship, it’s a much more conservative approach,” he said. “You’re not always duking it out to get that top step of the podium at the end. But I think, with how good the BMW M6 GT3 is and how good my teammates are, a win throughout the year should come. Hopefully, on its way, it does. If it doesn’t this next year, maybe the year after or the year after. I’ve got a long way to go.”
 
Indeed, at the age of 51, Auberlen is showing no signs of slowing down.
 
“You know what? My happiness with racing has even gone up,” he said. “I’m at a new part of my career where I can still go fast, I can still win races, but I can also understand the gravity of what we’re doing within here. Right?
 
“In terms of life, we’re a blip on a radar, but in terms of what we do here, for me to be able to understand the level of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it at and the guy I’m going to war with every weekend, I can sit back and I can really enjoy it. I love it and appreciate it. That’s where I’m at now.”
 
The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place January 25-26. Tickets are available at www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
 

The live telecast of Sunday’s Formula 1 World Championship Brazilian Grand Prix on ESPN2 attracted a U.S. television audience that averaged double-digit increases over viewership for the last two editions of the race, continuing F1’s trend of season-long audience growth across ESPN networks.

 

The race had an average audience of 620,000 viewers on ESPN2, an increase of 32 percent over the race on ESPN2 last year (469,000) and up eight percent from the NBCSN audience of 571,000 in 2017. The Brazilian Grand Prix audience peaked at 757,593 as Max Verstappen drove to victory.

 

Through 20 races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 681,000 viewers on ESPN networks, an increase of 22 percent over the average of 557,000 at this point last year on ESPN networks and up 25 percent from the average of 544,000 on NBC networks in 2017.

 

Seventeen of the 20 races this season have seen year-over-year viewership increases on ESPN networks.

 

The 21-race Formula 1 season concludes on Sunday, Dec. 1, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race airs at 8:05 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Ten individuals, all who have made significant contributions to the Sports Car Club of America® (SCCA®) and world of motorsports, have been named as the Club’s newest Hall of Fame class -- adding their names to a list of timeless superstars. The 2020 class, the largest group to be inducted at once into the Hall of Fame since its 2005 inception, includes three married couples and one individual who has now followed his father’s path into the Hall of Fame.

Along with the accomplishments of all previous inductees, the latest Hall of Fame members helped position the building blocks that elevated SCCA’s stature in the world of motorsports. This year’s honorees are Bill and Jane Goodale, Walt Hansgen, Scott Harvey, Joe Huffaker, Cat Kizer, Bob and Patty Tunnell, and Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof.

As has become tradition, this year’s greats will be formally inducted during the SCCA® Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. That event takes place Saturday, January 18 and serves as the capstone of the three-day SCCA National Convention taking place at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Below is additional background on those joining the prestigious ranks this year.

Bill and Jane Goodale
Within the Sports Car Club of America, Bill and Jane Goodale have been far more than accomplished drivers. They have been leaders, facilitators, officials and even mentors. It could be argued that most SCCA members have been affected by their efforts, certainly on the Solo side. But beyond that, the grace, kindness and sense of inclusion they’ve displayed has become a hallmark of SCCA’s Solo Program.

Jane was Solo Chair during the 1970s when New England Region’s Solo program was just beginning to be a presence. She traveled the ProSolo circuit and went on to lend support to the Region and fellow competitors, and was well known as host of the Region party at Solo Nationals. Meanwhile, Bill was New England Region’s first, and for decades only, Solo Novice chair.

In the early years of Solo Nationals, Chief Stewards were usually from outside the Solo community. When that changed to instead utilize those involved in autocross, Bill was one of the first to be asked to fill the role. He did for decades, working with and mentoring many others who have taken on the role as Solo Nationals grew. Bill’s record in competition was impressive, too, as he was named the 1989 Driver of Eminence, received the 2010 Solo Cup, and claimed several national championships along the way.

Walt Hansgen
A member of the Northern New Jersey Region since joining SCCA in 1951, Walt Hansgen’s influence and impact in American and European sports car racing was immense. As a competitor, Hansgen achieved much. He was a four-time SCCA “C” Modified National Champion, a three-time recipient of SCCA’s President’s Cup, and competed at world-class endurance events, NASCAR Grand National races, and a couple Grands Prix. Hansgen was also named the New York Times “Best Driver of the Year” and Sports Illustrated “U.S. Sports Car Driver of the Year.”

Hansgen’s successful racing career aside, he was a very active member of the Northern New Jersey Region where he held the Regional Executive position. On a National level, he served on the Competition Board and worked diligently to improve the Club’s road racing program, safety standards and competition rules. Additionally, Hansgen conducted racecourse safety inspections, making recommendations for circuit improvements to benefit drivers, crew and spectators alike -- standards that are still in use today.

Scott Harvey
While attending UCLA in the 1950s, engineering student Scott Harvey began rally and racing efforts in an MG-TD. By 1956, he had joined the Sports Car Club of America and was working as a Chrysler engineer in Detroit where he managed to convince superiors to loan him a 300D for motorsport activities -- the first in a long string of Chrysler products he competed in over the years. And while some know Harvey for engineering high-performance suspension parts, his real impact came through advancing the sport of performance rally.

It is Harvey’s early adoption of the European idea of high-speed rally that landed him in the SCCA Hall of Fame. He helped form a club, called The Ralligators, that worked alongside SCCA’s Detroit Region to create European rallying in the United States. Harvey was instrumental in creation of the MONY (Michigan, Ohio, New York) rally series, with most MONY events being SCCA rallies. This eventually led to creation of the SCCA PRO Rally series in 1973, which Harvey became first overall champion. Before that, he had participated in traditional Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallies where in 1963 and 1964 he won the SCCA National TSD championship.

In 1968, Harvey served as Chairman and Rallymaster of the Press On Regardless rally, a milestone event for the sport in America and the longest running rally event in SCCA history. Under his leadership, Harvey and the Press On Regardless were awarded the prestigious Arthur Gervais Rally of the Year in 1968 by SCCA, the first time a "performance" rally had been selected for the award. Harvey was also instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to the United States with his involvement in the 1972 Press On Regardless rally, an event in 1973 and 1974 with World Championship status.

Joe Huffaker
“Little” Joe Huffaker, the son of 2017 SCCA Hall of Fame inductee Joe Huffaker, has made a big mark in Sports Car Club of America road racing. At an early age, the younger Huffaker helped out around his father’s garage before “officially” joining Huffaker Engineering in the early 1970s. Over the years he gathered a lot of useful knowledge, from his father and great drivers and mechanics, before taking over the business in 1991 when his father retired.

The younger Joe, however, didn’t just continue his father’s work. He significantly expanded the operation to become a force throughout SCCA Club Racing and Pro Racing, maintaining the highest possible standards in car construction and presentation, regardless of the series. As proof, note the fact that Huffaker Engineering has produced over 35 SCCA Runoffs® National Championship cars and claimed three SCCA Trans Am titles. Their successful record has earned the Huffakers the honor of being the very first father-son duo to be inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame.

Beyond his car and engine building prowess, “Little” Joe -- who actually stands 6 feet 5 inches tall -- is an equally talented racecar driver. He has too many wins to count in SCCA road racing competition. But a couple highlights, as of 2019, include his 13 poles at the Runoffs and 10 National Championships gathered up across two different classes in cars he designed, built and prepared -- a feat that stands as testament to Joe’s immense talent.

Cat Kizer
A continuous member of SCCA since 1976, Catherine “Cat” Kizer holds a special place in SCCA history. She was the first female to be crowned a Runoffs champion, and the only woman to be awarded the President’s Cup. These two accomplishments have made Kizer a role model for other female racers.

It was 1979 when Kizer made history at Road Atlanta during the National Championship Runoffs. She faced a formidable field of competitors, many of whom were previous national champions. Starting from eighth on the grid, she quickly drove her H Production Red Roof Inns MG Midget into the lead. A great battle ensued up front, but it was Kizer who was first to the checkered flag. That inspiring drive earned her the prestigious President's Cup award that year. The following year, Kizer was back at the Runoffs, placing her car on pole and finishing third in the race.

Bob and Patty Tunnell
The Solo duo of Patty and Bob Tunnell have posted an illustrious record when it comes to autocross competition. From Volkswagens in the early 1980s, through a long and storied stretch driving BMWs at many preparation levels, the married couple achieved success few have matched. They have claimed numerous Solo Nationals Championships and ProSolo Championships across many classes and categories, from Stock through Modified, in cars which were not the obvious choice for victory. Bob’s recognition awards from SCCA have included the Solo Cup and, together with Patty, Driver of Eminence.

Beyond their success between the orange cones, the Tunnells stand as an example of how to be active, involved members of both the Solo community and Club as a whole. Bob has served the Club on a variety of fronts, including time on the Solo Events Board and as a Chief Steward for Solo Nationals. Patty and Bob have also lent their valuable experience and positive attitude to the Club’s burgeoning Time Trials National Tour program. All throughout, the Tunnells never forgot how important it is to encourage experienced competitors to befriend and mentor those new to SCCA activities. Their kindness and compassion are also on display through philanthropic endeavors that create a very positive image for the Sports Car Club of America.

Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof
Dave Weitzenhof’s record over more than 50 years of SCCA road racing demonstrates his skill as both a driver and technician. Overall, he has seven SCCA National Championships and was presented with the Road Racing Drivers’ Club Mark Donohue Award in 1972, as well as the 1977 SCCA President’s Cup trophy. But as Dave himself admits, none of that would’ve been possible without the help of his wife, Sherrie Weitzenhof, who has been by his side and an instrumental part of the “team” throughout half a century of racing. The fact that Sherrie is officially recognized as a “Friend of the Road Racing Drivers’ Club” proves that point. Furthermore, Sherrie supported the SCCA NeOhio Region by organizing many events, including the successful and long running Competition Clinic, and she chaired the NeOhio Hall of Fame committee.

To his credit, Dave earned four SCCA Runoffs wins in the highly competitive Formula Ford class, as well as a pair of Formula Continental Runoffs victories and a Formula Vee SCCA National Championship. Beyond that, he has won far too many SCCA races to count. Outside the car, Dave was an accomplished engineer with Bridgestone/Firestone and has numerous patents to his name. Throughout his involvement in SCCA racing, Dave openly shared insights on car setup and vehicle dynamics, as well as his tire expertise with fellow racers. Some of that know-how was deployed while serving as a test driver for development of the Sports Renault program, which evolved to become Spec Racer Ford -- one of SCCA’s most popular car classes in road racing.

The new class of 10 inductees join the list below of 91 previously-entered SCCA Hall of Fame members:
2005: Cameron Argetsinger, A. Tracy Bird, John Fitch, Arthur Gervais, Harry Handley, Vern Jaques, Bill Milliken, Sue Roethel, Art Trier, Rob Walker
2006: John Bornholdt, John Buffum, Mark Donohue, Denise McCluggage, Grant Reynolds
2007: Marge Binks, Marc Gerstein, Carl A. Haas, General Curtis E. LeMay, Theodore F. Robertson
2008: Roger E. Johnson, Don and Ruth Nixon, Kjell Qvale, Robert Ridges, Fred Schmucker
2009: Bill Chambres, Bill Johnson, Jim Kimberly, Paul Newman, John Timanus
2010: Nick Craw, Briggs Cunningham, R. David Jones, Burdette “Berdie” Martin, Wayne Zitkus
2011: Karen Babb, John Bishop, Jim Fitzgerald, Tracer Racing, Harro Zitza
2012: Charlie Earwood, Jim Hall, Gene Henderson, Dr. Peter Talbot, Bryan Webb
2013: Skip Barber, Bill Noble, Bobby Rahal, Carroll Shelby, Andy Porterfield
2014: Kathy Barnes, Robert “Bob” Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Dr. Robert “Bob” Hubbard and Jim Downing, Pete Hylton
2015: Roger H. Johnson, Oscar Koveleski, Ron Sharp, Dr. George Snively, Bob Tullius
2016: Hubert Brundage, Bob Henderson, Roger Penske, Randy Pobst, Alec Ulman
2017: Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill, Jim Kaser
2018: William C. Bradshaw, Peter Cunningham, Janet Guthrie, August Pabst, Dave Stremming and Loren Pearson, Bob Sharp, Dr. Dick Thompson
2019: David Ammen, Dr. Frank Falkner, George Follmer, Patricia "Patc" Henry, John McGill, Dorsey Schroeder, Henryk Szamota

The purpose of the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame is to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club for current and future members by recognizing those members who have had a significant impact on the Club and the sport. This may be through service to the national organization, achievements in competition, advancement of the sport, or bringing recognition to the SCCA.

The Hall of Fame is overseen and guided by four Committees. The Steering Committee oversees the entire process. The Legacy Committee focuses on nominees from the first third of SCCA’s history. The Nomination Committee focuses on nominees from the last two-thirds of the Club’s history. The Chairs of the Legacy and Nomination Committees are encouraged to liaison with each other in cases where nominees might reasonably fall under the purview of both committees. The Selection Committee then picks each year’s inductees.

Online registration for the SCCA National Convention can be found here and includes entry to the Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. Additional information about the upcoming SCCA National Convention can also be found at https://www.scca.com/pages/nationalconvention.

Following a national search for top diverse driver talent, NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced the six ethnically diverse and female drivers selected to the 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program.

The program’s newest class features five drivers who will make their return to Rev Racing next season including Chase Cabre, Nicholas Sanchez, Gracie Trotter, Rajah Caruth and Isabella Robusto. Late model driver Perry Patino will make his debut with NASCAR Drive for Diversity in 2020.

Caruth and Robusto competed in the 2019 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Youth Driver Development Program and raced Legends cars for Rev Racing at this year’s Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in Charlotte, N.C. They also ran five other races with Rev Racing as part of the youth program.

“We are very enthusiastic about the progress we continue to make with the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, and the 2020 class exemplifies the evolution of the program,” said Jusan Hamilton, Director, Racing Operations and Event Management at NASCAR. “We were extremely impressed with the confidence, competitive drive and raw talent of the drivers that competed at this year’s combine, which made the selection process challenging for us. Our partners at Rev Racing work hard every year to develop the best diverse drivers around the world. To see familiar faces in this class that have grown and advanced through the youth ranks of the program bolsters our belief that we will see some of these same drivers at the top levels of NASCAR in the future.”    

The six drivers were selected from a group of invitees that competed in the two-day NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Combine in October at Daytona International Speedway and New Smyrna Speedway.

The combine included fitness assessments and evaluations of each driver’s marketing and media skills. The on-track portion tested the drivers’ abilities behind the wheel and proficiencies in late model stock cars. Representatives from NASCAR and Rev Racing were on-hand to evaluate the talent and determine the 2020 team.

"We have seen great success this past year with our drivers having multiple wins in every series we participated in this season," said Max Siegel, Owner of Rev Racing. "Our returning drivers have certainly set the bar high. We are all excited to welcome the new members of this year’s class to the Rev Racing family and continue the momentum moving into the 2020 season."

Caruth, Patino, Robusto and Trotter will compete in a NASCAR Late Model, while Cabre and Sanchez will compete in the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Showdown Series in 2020.

Competing in a late model stock car will be a first for drivers like Caruth, whose background is in iRacing and Robusto who has experience racing Legends cars.

Rajah Caruth will become the first driver with an iRacing background to be selected for the program. He is a product of the eNASCAR IGNITE Series – a first-of-its kind esports competition created to identify young talent by providing a low barrier of entry to the sport.

NASCAR Drive for Diversity provides opportunities for women and minorities to pursue career opportunities in NASCAR in the driver’s seat and on pit crews through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Development Program and off the track through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

The 2020 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development team includes:

  • Chase Cabre: The 22-year-old from Tampa, Fla., will join Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive racing season and compete in the ARCA Menards Series East. Cabre won twice in 2019 in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
  • Rajah Caruth: In just 42 starts, Caruth, 17, of Washington, D.C., has twice won races in the eNASCAR IGNITE Series, driving the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1/Ford Mustang. Additionally, he earned two heat wins with Rev Racing in the 2019 Bojangles’ Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  
  • Perry Patino: The 20-year-old, Montgomery, Ala. native will join Rev Racing for the first time with one Limited Late Model win at Montgomery Speedway and the 2018 Limited Late Model championship under his belt.
  • Isabella Robusto: The 15-year-old won the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro class in 2019 and finished second in Semi-Pro points. The Fort Mill, S.C., native was honored with the Young Racer award at the 2018 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.
  • Nicholas Sanchez: The 18-year-old Miami native returns to Rev Racing for his fourth-consecutive season after winning at Myrtle Beach Speedway and Langley Speedway in a Late Model Stock Car in 2019.
  • Gracie Trotter: Denver, N.C. native, Gracie Trotter, 18, returns to Rev Racing as the 2019 Winter Heat Series champion at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She also won Round 5 of the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout in the Semi-Pro Division.

Rev Racing PR

Gio Scelzi led all 30 laps on the way to scoring his first national midget car feature win on the opening night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway, Tuesday. Logan Seavey would finish second and POWRi champion Jesse Colwell was third as Toyotas swept all three podium positions.

Scelzi becomes the third different Tucker-Boat Motorsports driver and the 15th Toyota-powered driver to win a national event this season. The win is Toyota’s 42nd national midget feature win of the year, an all-time high for the manufacturer.

Scelzi opened the night’s action by qualifying fifth in the 56-car field, but was then forced to win his Last Chance Qualifier after finishing fifth in his heat race. He did just that to earn a starting spot on the outside of the front row for the A Main.

Scelzi, the 17-year-old son of drag racing legend, Gary Scelzi, went straight to the front on the green flag, followed by pole-sitter Colwell, Michael Pickens, Shane Golobic and Tanner Carrick.  The top three continued to hold down those positions until lap eight, when Pickens and Logan Seavey got together fighting for third and Pickens came to a stop to bring out an early caution flag.

Scelzi continued to dominate at the green flag, with Colwell, Seavey, Carrick and Golobic running in the top five through the midway point when the yellow flag waved once more.  Behind them, Kyle Larson was on the rise, climbing from 23rd to 12th by lap 15.

Defending series champion Seavey made a move past Colwell on lap 19 and then set his sights on the leader, closing right up on Scelzi before another caution came out with nine laps remaining.

As he had most of the evening, Scelzi excelled on the start and was able to pull out a couple of car lengths lead on Seavey. As the top two battled it out front, Larson continued to climb through the field, moving into seventh on lap 25 and up to sixth on the following circuit. 

On lap 28 the final yellow flag of the night waved, setting up a three-lap dash for the win. Scelzi would prove to be more than up to the task, driving to his first national midget feature victory ahead of Seavey and Colwell, with Larson climbing up to take fourth.

Carrick would finish eighth, followed by Jason McDougal in ninth and Aaron Reutzel in tenth as Toyota-powered drivers captured seven of the top-10 finishing positions.

The two-night Hangtown 100 will crown its overall champion following Wednesday night’s feature at Placerville Speedway. The event features the richest purse in USAC Midget car history with $5,000 going to Scelzi for his win tonight, $20,000 to win on Wednesday and a $12,000 prize going to the top overall driver in points throughout both nights.

TRD PR

Brady Bacon took the lead on the opening lap, then held off a hard-charging Logan Seavey late in the race to win the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ 52nd annual Western World Championships at Arizona Speedway in a Toyota one-two finish Saturday night.

With the victory, Bacon becomes the 15th different Toyota-powered driver to win a national midget feature in 2019 as the manufacturer set a new program-best for wins in a season with 41.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Bacon would overtake pole-sitter Zeb Wise on the opening lap with Seavey climbing into second, followed by Wise, Tyler Courtney and Jesse Colwell. A lap later, Courtney would climb into third.

The leaders would hold their positions through much of the first half of the race before a red flag waved on lap 15, as POWRi champion Jesse Colwell got upside down after getting caught up behind a spinning car.  

Before the field could finish a lap on the restart, another red flag would wave, this time for a trio of Keith Kunz Motorsports entries as Buddy Kofoid, Rico Abreu and Tucker Klaasmeyer all were involved in an incident that left Klaasmeyer upside down.

When the race went back to green, Bacon continued to lead Seavey, with Wise moving up to third and an on-the-rise Gio Scelzi moved up to fourth, followed by Courtney, Friday night’s winner Kevin Thomas Jr., Jerry Coons Jr. Chris Windom and Karsyn Elledge.

The race would go back to red after just two laps, though, as Elledge went up and over the berm. She would climb out of the car uninjured, but her night was over with 14 laps remaining.

Bacon would shine on the restart as he did throughout the night, pulling out a five-car length lead over Seavey as the two leaders would start to pull away from the rest of the field. Behind them, the driver on the move was Abreu, who came from the tail end of the field after getting caught up in the earlier red to charge into the top 10.

In the closing laps, Seavey started to reel in Bacon, but catching him and passing him would prove to be two different things. Seavey tried a variety of lines, but to no avail. On the final lap, Seavey drove deep into turn three, but Bacon held him off for the victory, with Wise finishing third, Courtney in fourth and Abreu recovering to place fifth.

“Frank Manafort Racing gave me a good car,” said Bacon. “The Western World has always been good to me and it was good to me again tonight. Starting from the front here is pretty important as there’s so many good cars here.”

With the runner-up finish, defending series champion Seavey moved up into second in the series point standings.

“We were right on him (Bacon) the whole race,” said Seavey. “I was really happy with my race car. I was trying something different every lap to try to find something to pass him, but it just wasn’t there.”

Thomas would place sixth, with Coons (eighth), Scelzi (ninth) and Tanner Carrick (tenth) joining Bacon, Seavey and Abreu to give Toyota six of the top-10 finishers. 

The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series will close out its 2019 campaign with four California races, starting with a Nov. 19-20 double-header in Placerville, before heading to Bakersfield Speedway on Nov. 23 and the season finale at the 79th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway, Nov. 28.

TRD PR

DIRTcar Racing Officials announced today Drydene Performance Products has been named title sponsor of the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series ahead of its winter season opener on Sunday, Nov. 24, at Cherokee Speedway for the Blue Gray 100.

 

An all-new series logo in the familiar red-and-white Drydene colors has been unveiled and Drydene will be posting a number of product awards at each of the Series’ events, including five $5,000-to-win, $500-to-start, 40-lap Features in addition to the $10,000-to-win season opener in Gaffney, SC.

 

“Drydene continues to be impressed with everything we do in dirt track racing and the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series provides us with a platform to carry that momentum through the winter with top-notch Late Model events at some of the finest tracks in the South,” said Dave Klinger, President of Drydene Performance Products

 

The Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series features a massive $45,000 cash point fund with $20,000 to the champion, $10,000 to second place, $5,000 to third place and $1,000 to any driver with perfect attendance. In addition to the point fund, any driver qualifying for all six races is guaranteed a minimum of $4,000, by virtue of the $1,000 perfect attendance bonus, plus six races at $500 to start.

 

Championship points will be compiled in unique fashion, giving each driver a mulligan, meaning if six races are completed, only the five best finishes will count. If five races are completed, only the four best finishes will count, and so on. In sum, a driver is not required to run every race to have a shot at first, second or third-place payoffs. Additionally, in order to soften the blow of a DNF under traditional point systems, points will be awarded on the basis of 15 points for a win, followed by 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and five points for 10th through 22nd, with two points awarded to all non-qualifiers.

 

Standard race formats will include group Qualifying, three Heat races with a top-two redraw and one Last Chance Showdown leading into the 40-lap Feature. There will be one track provisional and one Series provisional at each event. Tire rules will include Hoosier 1350/1600 with a D70 emergency RR option, along with American Racer 48/56 with a 70 emergency RR option. Hoosier 1300 and American Racer 44 tires will be allowed ONLY for the Blue Gray 100 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series co-sanctioned event.

 

For more information about Drydene and their entire line of performance engine oils and greases, including their newly unveiled Drydene Racing Formulas (DRF), visit them at drydene.com and DRFRacing.com.    

 

Follow the Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series all winter long on the web at xtremedirtcar.com, via Twitter @DIRTcar_Racing and Facebook @DIRTcar or by watching every race LIVE on DIRTVision presented by Drydene with your FAST PASS subscription, just $39 per month!

 

2019-20 Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series Schedule

Sun, Nov. 24 – Blue Gray 100 at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC

Sat, Dec. 7 – Grinch 40 at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN

Sun, Dec. 15 – Lavonia Speedway in Lavonia, GA

Sat, Jan. 18 – Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC

Sat, Jan. 25 – Cochran Motor Speedway in Cochran, GA

Sat, Feb. 29 – Modoc Raceway in Modoc, SC

DIRTcar Racing Series PR

As you probably heard, Indian Motorcycle recently disrupted the motorcycle industry with the announcement of its all-new Challenger – a class-leading, liquid-cooled, fixed-fairing American bagger.

 

Now test ride demos are all well and good. But you’re not going to get a sense of what a bike like the Challenger can do – a bike made for long-distance, sport touring type of applications – by taking it out for a couple miles around the local dealership. To that point, Indian is offering one lucky rider the chance at the ultimate Challenger test ride – an all-expense paid trip for two to ride Indian Challengers on one of the five greatest touring routes in America.  

 

Riders can enter the “Challenge Everything Giveaway” by visiting: 

https://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us/sweepstakes/challenger-giveaway/

 

 The scenic ride routes, include:

  • Cherohala Skyway - TN and NC
  • North Cascades Scenic Byway - WA
  • Twisted Sisters – TX
  • Pacific Coast Scenic Byway – CA
  • Pig Trail Scenic Byway – AR

 

The raffle is open now and will conclude on Friday, January 31, at 11:59 p.m. PT.

Renger van der Zande returns for his third season as full-time co-driver of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and will be joined for the 10-race IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign in 2020 by IndyCar Series and sportscar veteran Ryan Briscoe.

 

The duo’s first order of business will be defending the team’s 2019 victory in January’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona with added drivers Kamui Kobayashi, the former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship regular who was part of this year’s victorious Rolex 24 effort, and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

 

Van der Zande, the 33-year-old from Amsterdam, co-drove with Jordan Taylor to a pair of victories and seven podium finishes the past two seasons, and earned the 2017 Rolex 24 pole position in his first race with the team. Taylor left after a seven-year run with the team that netted 19 victories and the 2013 and 2017 driver championships to join the factory Corvette Racing effort in the WeatherTech Championship’s GT Le Mans class.

 

“I am obviously very happy to be continuing with the team,” van der Zande said. “I think we’ve built up a good relationship over the past two seasons and it’ll be the third year in a row I’ll be driving for the same team, which is fantastic in terms of continuity. This team is all about continuity and repetition, doing things better and better every time you do them. That’s why there are so many people with this team who have been there for 10-plus years, some over 15 years. That’s also what makes this team good, makes it great. Obviously we’re working on having great success in 2020. I’m happy to continue, happy to move forward, and this definitely feels like my American home.”

 

Briscoe, the 38-year-old from Australia, joins the team after a four-year run with the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT Le Mans-class program. With full-time co-driver Richard Westbrook and the addition of Dixon at the endurance events, his No. 67 Ford GT scored eight class wins, 18 podium finishes and eight pole positions in 44 races, including a class victory in the 2018 Rolex 24. Briscoe also was part of the team’s 24 Hours of Le Mans effort the past four seasons with a best class finish of third in 2016. In 11 seasons on the IndyCar circuit, including three with Ganassi and five with Team Penske, Briscoe scored seven victories and 27 podium finishes and qualified on the pole 12 times, including the pole at the 2012 Indianapolis 500. His best IndyCar points finish was third in 2009 with Team Penske.

 

“I’m really excited to be joining WTR,” said Briscoe, who’s driven with the No. 10 team five times previously, including Rolex 24 efforts in 2006, 2011 and 2012. “I’ve always had so much respect for the organization. They’ve been so successful and are one of the most committed teams in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship. It’s an honor to join them as one of their full-time drivers. The Cadillac DPi is a fantastic machine and I can’t wait to drive it.”

 

Kobayashi, the 33-year-old from Japan, returns to the team for the 2020 Rolex 24 after co-driving with Taylor, van der Zande and Formula One veteran Fernando Alonso to victory this past January, the team’s second win in the endurance marathon in three seasons. He co-drove the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1-class entry to second in the most recent World Endurance Championship standings and is back with that team full-time this season. Kobayashi was highly instrumental in the Rolex 24 victory, keeping the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R in the lead for 72 of his 87 laps behind the wheel. It was his first career Rolex 24 outing.

 

“First of all, I want thank to Wayne Taylor Racing and Konica Minolta for giving me a chance to race at Rolex 24 hours for two years in a row,” Kobayashi said. “I had a great experience in winning with WTR and the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi last year at Daytona, so I am really looking forward to go back there to try to win the race again. I know it is not easy to repeat the success the team had there last year but, with my 2019 teammate Renger and with very strong new teammates, I think we should be able to challenge for win. Ryan and Scott are not only talented, but they also have had great success in other U.S. racing series, so I am really looking forward to working with them.”

 

Dixon, the 39-year-old from New Zealand, is a veteran of 19 IndyCar seasons, the last 18 of which he spent with Chip Ganassi Racing. He is a five-time series champion, the most recent title coming in 2018. Among his 46 career race wins and 115 podium finishes is his victory from the pole at the 2008 Indianapolis 500. Dixon also has contested 36 sportscar races dating back to 1999, including 12 with the Ganassi Ford GT effort the past four seasons. In addition to his 2018 Rolex 24 class victory with Briscoe and Westbrook, he has scored a pair of overall Rolex 24 wins in Ganassi Racing prototypes. The first was the 2006 Rolex 24 alongside Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon, the second with Tony Kanaan, Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray in the 2015 Rolex 24.

 

“I’ve been with Chip Ganassi Racing’s sportscar program since its inception back in 2004, and we’ve enjoyed a good amount of success together over the years,” Dixon said. “With the Ford GT program coming to a conclusion in 2019, the opportunity with Wayne Taylor Racing became available, and it’s something I’m really excited about. I’ve always loved racing Prototypes and to get back to the top class is something I’m looking forward to, for sure. Wayne and his team run a very strong program and have been proven contenders for years, now. Ryan and I obviously have a long history together, so I think that will be important, as well, to get a fast start. I’m looking forward to teaming up with Renger and Kamui and hope to contribute to the overall success of the No. 10 car.”

 

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team has been among the most dominating at the Rolex 24 since the team’s inception in 2007. It has reeled off six race-day podiums in its last seven outings at the iconic endurance marathon, including the 2017 and 2019 victories, with a total of 1,222 laps led from 2013 through 2019. The team enters the 2020 season coming off a runner-up finish at the Petit Le Mans finale at Road Atlanta, which locked in a top-four finish in the final standings.

 

“Obviously, these are some of the biggest changes we’ve made in the way of our driver lineup,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “Ricky (Taylor, eldest son) left two years ago and Jordan’s been with us since forever, it seems like. With him leaving, we’re in some ways starting with a clean sheet of paper. Renger has been with us for two years and he has done a good job. Ryan and Max (Angelelli, former co-driver and current team owner) and I have always worked together, so there is a lot of familiarity there. For the longer races, we’re excited to have Kamui back to help defend our Daytona championship, and Scott Dixon certainly brings us a fresh, new look to the team with a history of winning races and championships. So, despite all the changes, everything will kind of still be the same, and everyone is highly motivated. The team is looking forward to some change. You’ve got to have change in life and I think this is a good time. I’m proud of Jordan for getting selected to drive the factory Corvette. It would have been difficult to turn that down. I wish him well and the team does, too. I’m also excited with the announcement of the new head of IMSA, John Doonan. He’s a guy I’ve known for years and he understands what we’re all trying to do, especially in the business-to-business arena, which has always been so important to us. John knows these cars, he understands BoP (Balance of Performance), and we feel absolutely revitalized having him in charge. I’m really looking forward to good things happening in 2020.”

 

The 2020 season kicks off Jan. 25 and 26 with the 58th running of the Rolex 24. It will be preceded by the annual three days of Roar Before the 24 test days Jan. 3 to 5.

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